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***My'Nam Rat Tales***

Now,there's things that can give a person the creeps just about any place and at any time,depending upon the person,and what he's especially not fond of.

Other than Charlie Cong,I can think of a couple of other little bothersome pesky creatures that kept us on our toes,and occasionally half out of our skin!
Remember those leeches those rats,the snakes,and mosquitoes...and every once in awhile the tropical spiders and centipedes....even the lowly worms were nuthin' to shake a stick at! Heck,they looked like snakes their darn selves!

Now to say this without offering any examples of just what I'm talking about would not be fair to the person reading this,as he or she would probably think I may be exagerating just a little.
Well,let me give you an example or two,and see if you might begin to see what I mean.

Now remember back a page or so ago I mentioned a Firebase called Ripcord? This was my very first encounter with the Ratsis Gigantus Nastytus or the Super Rat!
I don't know if my old asst gunner,Larry Sterzik ever realized how close he came to getting his ass blown away by his scared shitless Bunker-Mate,but if he did...he never mentioned it.One night on the side of that mountain,after spending the entire day,prepping for the evening at hand.And this means a day spent clearing brush out to our front,checking on the concertina wire and tripwire,setting out claymores,cleaning our weapons,gathering ammo...in general getting ourselves prepaired for whatever may happen during the course of a normal night on Ripcord.Well,we also always kept as many C-Rations near our hole as we could to munch on during the night while we stood guard,and shot H & I out into the darkness.This was about the only time I ever got to shoot the M-79 grenade launcher for any extended period of time,and I really dug that weapon too.So between throwing hand grenades out there every so often and shooting the Thumper's H.E.rounds,it was always lively.I mean it wasn't like they didn't know where we were already anyway.And we weren't really worrying about giving away our positions.This was a major Firebase here,and it was S.O.P.to continue with this kind of activity all night long.

Now between all this shooting and eating...it sometimes got a little messy around our little A.O.but we'd always clean it up the next morning so no big deal,right?
Well,this one night started out like any other night,and it must've been somewhere after midnight,and well into the time where the more you stared out in front of you,into the black wooded hillside,the more times you kept thinking something just moved.Sitting there in the twilight zone of your mind,imagining all kinds of things,but trying your very best to keep your shit together...Then...what's that?...What'd I just hear? A rustling sound! Oh,God,what's this now?...I kept my eyes focused to my front,but moved my eyes slowly back & forth straining to see what was making this noise and try to figure out which direction it was coming from.All of a sudden,it was right there in my position! And it was now in back of me,up and over my right shoulder.I spun around with that thumper and just before I blasted whatever in the hell was on top of me,I saw the biggest friggin' RAT I ever saw in my life!!! And he wasn't even scared.Here I was drawing down on the little kamikazi with a weapon that if I cut 'er loose would have blown Sterzik out of his fart-sack and ruined his whole day.I'm sure in looking back,that the H.E.round wouldn't have had enough distance to travel to arm itself to do its full amount of damage.But who really knows? Well,anyhow...Brother Rat just looked back at me as if to say" WWwwwaaaazzzuppp???" I did chase his ass outta there,and tried to regain my composure enough to check my watch and see it was just about time to wake up Sterzik out of the sleeping hole inside our 2-man bunker.

Needless to say I didn't sleep too well the rest of that night and for many more nights to come.Rats,you see are not high on my list of favorites when it comes to God's furry little creatures.

Later on in my tour of the 'Nam,I was living in a hootch back at Camp Evans.At night I would try to sleep even on the hottest nights with my poncho liner pulled up over my face. Why? I did this because there were so many rats that thought our hootch was really there's.They just figured we had no business trespassing!

We'd always be sweeping the rat crap off the floor only to find more of it all around you in the morning in exactly the same spot where you had just swept it up.Even on top of your poncho liner that you always had to shake off! Sometimes they would be down at one end of the hootch,and before you could hit 'em with something...they'd run down into a hole under the floor,and come out down at the other end of the room.I could easily see where the Viet Cong learned some of their tricks.They were so bad back there,that one night the Battalion Commander's driver(whose name escapes me),even had the pleasure to meet one.
But before that I've gotta tell you about the dog.

See,there was this homely old dog that used to wander around in and out of our A.O.
And he was a scroungy little bugger,but everybody always thought he was cool.Well,the one night,our friendly driver lay asleep snoring soundly.And before too long,he said he felt the familiar pooch come jumping up on his belly.In the dark,he reached down to pet the ol'boy,and before he could even open his eyes to look down at him...he felt him come running up his chest and got himself a vicious bite on the nose!
What he thought was the old dog,had turned out to be one of those huge nasty-assed rats and it did not like getting petted! After a series of many shots in the stomach for rabies,(at least that's how I remember it) he gave up his love of animals.Or at least of dogs with long stringy tails that don't wag.

Well...I could tell you more rat tales,but I'll leave it at this for now.Thank you once again for dropping by,and please don't be a stranger.

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Take'er easy...and remember what Zippo taught us..."don't take the same trail twice"...